New Nav for i Brings New Stuff to You
May 25, 2022 Alex Woodie
With the recent launch of IBM i 7.5, IBM added several compelling new features to “New Nav,” the new version of IBM Navigator for i that debuted less than a year ago. Among the goodies that all you IBM i admins out there will get are support for the audit journal, integration with Content Manager OnDemand for i, and updates to Performance Data Investigator, among other additions.
In addition to being much faster than the older Navigator for i product (alternatively called “Old Nav” or “Heritage Navigator”), the software allows users to work with multiple LPARs simultaneously, which required having multiple tabs opened in the old product. The internal use of SQL-based services and REST also mark a technological departure from the prior product.
When IBM launched New Nav last year, it figured it had some time to get all the features and capabilities of the Old Nav product moved over. However, since Old Nav was discovered earlier this year to have a critical and un-patchable security vulnerability in Log4j, IBM has been ramping up the tempo in the delivery of new features in New Nav to accelerate the arrival of feature parity.
At the top of the list of new features in New Nav is support for the audit journal. You can now view bar charts of audit journal entry counts by the day, by the week, or in a detailed view. That gives you the ability to quickly see if there are security trends you should know about, such as increases in security failures, password changes, or deleted objects.
In the daily view, New Nav lets users hover over the chart to see detailed information, including the count type for each security entry and the full entry name (as opposed to the abbreviations IBM uses, like AF, PW, CA, etc.), and also double click on it to go to the detailed view for a specific entry type.
The weekly view allows you to hover over each chart and view the SQL command used to generate the chart, IBM says. You can also double click on the chart to go to the detail view for that entry type, it says. Read more about the QAUDJRN-New Nav integration here.
New Nav also gets its initial support for Content Manager on Demand (CMOD) for i, an IBM i program that allows you to capture, index, store, and distribute large numbers of business documents, such as reports, checks, statements, and invoices, or even image files like x-rays. The software typically serves as a long-term archive for documents that in the past would have been handled with paper or microfiche.
With this release, IBM is giving users the capability to accomplish several CMOD for i tasks within the New Nav interface, including: define storage media to which data can be migrated; define monitors to allow data to be automatically loaded from directories or output queues; and define policies for migrating data to various storage media and expiring data.
IBM supports a list of about 10 CMOD for i definitions that can be viewed by an administrator in New Nav (but not change), including: instances; disk pools; NFS disk pools; cloud storage resources; optical volumes, etc. There are also a handful of CMOD for i functions in the development stage, including several having to do with optical volumes, tape volumes, and more. You can read more about the enhancements for yourself here.
New Nav also sees enhancements for Performance Data Investigator (PDI), which was previously supported in part. With this release, IBM gives you the ability to open a PDI perspective chart in a new browser tab.
It also provides a new Health Indicators package that allows you to view perspectives with multiple collections (although this is limited to two collections per query). IBM also updated the to the perspective path list to make it more user friendly, and gave you the ability to launch to investigate data from the Active Jobs list. There is also a new breadcrumbs features that allows users to safely back their way out of views, which wasn’t easy to do before. You can read more about these enhancements here.
On the LDAP front, you can also use New Nav to configure your system to publish certain information – including systems, printers, print shares, user information, and TCP/IP quality of service policies – into a Directory Server, which can either be on the same system or on a different system. The OS automatically publishes this information to the Directory Server when you use New Nav to change this information, IBM says.
IBM also enabled some NetServer functions in New Nav, including the ability to view and configure IBM i NetServer properties (like general settings, security settings, and WINS configuration); to view status information; and to manage disabled user IDs, including enabling them.
IBM made several other minor enhancements in New Nav, including an upgrade to Angular and PrimeNG, which may change the column layout of some tables. It also updated the SMTP properties in New Nav, added dynamic key connections in its VPN support; and added a window that lists all the replacement variables that can be used for each monitor type.
New Nav only works with IBM i 7.3 and higher. Customers on older releases can either keep using Old Nav while being aware of the security risks, or go back to using greenscreen commands.
In terms of feature parity with Old Nav, it doesn’t look like we’re quite there yet. Features like the Advanced Job Scheduler, PowerHA, BRMS, and AFP form functions that were available in Old Nav are still not yet available in New Nav.